Sunday, March 11, 2012


Okay, hi! That was enough of a diversion. Let’s talk about video games again.

I'm juggling several different games, which makes it difficult to carve out time to write a detailed blog post for each one.

Shin Megami Tensai: Devil Survivor 2 - SMT:DS2 is a great strategy RPG, a great jRPG, and a great monster-collecting RPG. It's also a bit grind-heavy, but that makes it ideal for short bursts of play on my bus ride into work. You can spend twenty minutes grinding and ten minutes rearranging teams and skills, then close the lid of the DS and head into work. On the way back, you can spend ten minutes taking care of plot events and another twenty minutes fighting, then close the lid and head home.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Well, here's the deal. The Editor, as a hardcore Bioware fan, gets first dibs on Mass Effect 3. I, trying to avoid spoilers, lock myself in the next room and play through games I wouldn't otherwise play. So far, I've skipped through most of the plot of KoA, but the conflict between the immortal Fae and the mortal...other people, seems unique enough. Movement is fast and fluid, and combat feels pretty crunchy (on Corvus' exhortations, I've picked up some chakrams and I enjoy their weird rhythm). I don't feel particularly constrained by the class system, unlike Skyrim. Right now, I do feel a little rushed through some areas--again, unlike Skyrim, wherein I felt quite comfortable taking my time to do shit. I'm not sure if it's my mindset (FINISH MASS EFFECT SO WE CAN DISCUSS GARRUS-SEX, KATY) or if it's some property of the game.

Star Wars Online: The Old Republic - At the release of Cataclysm, The Editor persuaded me to give WoW a try. We played for about two months, I hit level 65, and then I quit after reaching The Outlands. The first twenty levels of WoW felt great--levels popped frequently (almost too frequently, although I understand that was intentionally tweaked to get players to the endgame faster), crafting was rewarding, and in general I Got It. I started playing SWOTOR with a friend and I'm just about to hit the 2 month mark. Again, the first twenty levels felt great. On top of that, I loved my giant yellow Twi'lek Jedi Knight, her yellow lightsabers, and her slightly sassy take on the Light Side. The mission structures really contrasted WoW's goofy plot, which is now patched together across several different expansions. However, the honeymoon is starting to wear off. I hate paying $15 to maintain an account that I only play for 6 hours a month. Crafting is prohibitively expensive for my level, so I have to let the interesting parallelization of crafts grinding lay dormant while I build up cash. As fun as the plot is for my main Jedi, I can't bear the thought of going through Dromund Kaas again with my Sith alts. That said, I heard a rumor that the next content patch will have new lightsaber colors, and as a hardcore Star Wars nerd, I'm not sure I can resist giving my Twi'lek a yellow/purple lightsaber set.

Dwarf Fortress - New release, new excuse for me to pick up one of my favorite games again. This time, I wrote a beginner's tutorial since the Wiki's tutorial is nigh-unreadable to me, and doesn't flow through the game in a way that's useful to a first-timer. The tutorial is currently being playtested by random DF first-timers. Once I get enough feedback, I'll release it on this blog.

Dear Esther - I find this game a great blend between very relaxing and very emotional. I want to write a ton about it. I will soon. For now, I'll just say that very few games ask little enough of me that revisiting them is not a chore, and very few games reward me so much for deciding to revisit them.